WASHINGTON – Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath announced her 2020 candidacy against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a three-minute video posted to Twitter on Tuesday morning in which she blamed the Kentucky Republican for dysfunction in Washington.
“Everything that’s wrong in Washington had to start someplace. How did it come to this?” McGrath, a Democrat, said in the video.
She added: “Well, it started with this man (McConnell), who was elected a lifetime ago, and who has bit by bit, year by year, turned Washington in something we all despise. Where dysfunction and chaos are political weapons. Where budgets and health care and the Supreme Court are held hostage. A place where ideals go to die.”
McGrath, 44, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1997 with a degree in political science. She served 20 years in the Marine Corps and is the first woman to fly an F/A-18 Hornet in combat. She ultimately flew more than 85 combat missions, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
I’m running to replace Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate. Everything that’s wrong with Washington had to start somewhere—it started with him. With your help, we can defeat Mitch and defend democracy. Join us: https://t.co/c4b0WAp4ji pic.twitter.com/DNLjFkHGua
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) July 9, 2019
In 2011, she was assigned to work as a congressional fellow in the office of Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), serving as the lawmaker’s defense and foreign affairs policy adviser. McGrath worked at the Pentagon from 2012-13 at Headquarters Marine Corps, Strategy & Plans Division, International Affairs Branch, as the Marine Corps’ liaison to other federal agencies.
In 2014, McGrath earned an M.A. in global security studies from Johns Hopkins University. She also has a graduate certificate in legislative studies from Georgetown University.
The mother of three, who is married to fellow Naval Academy graduate Erik Henderson, retired from the military as a lieutenant colonel in 2017.
McGrath ran for Congress last year and lost to incumbent GOP Rep. Andy Barr by about 3 percentage points. Her candidacy against McConnell is considered a long-shot by far.
McConnell is the highest-ranking member of the Senate and has served in the body since 1985. He is a shrewd political operator and is considered by many pundits to be an institution on Capitol Hill.
Moreover, Kentucky is one of the most reliably Republican states in the nation.
Then-candidate-and-now-President Donald Trump won Kentucky by nearly 30 points in 2016.